WINNING DESIGNER:Stephen Arthur at work on another creation
MOVE OVER Karl Lagerfeld and other big name fashion designers, there’s a new kid heading to the catwalk.
Stephen Arthur, a 21-year-old IT teacher from Birmingham, has just wowed Britain with his ‘perfect party dress.’
Arthur scooped 40 per cent of viewers’ votes in a competition run by ITV’s This Morning to find someone who could create a dress to make every party girl feel fabulous as the festive season approaches.
His stunning long red gown with shades of Hollywood glamour and Christmas magic is now expected to be sold at selected John Lewis stores across the UK and online.
It’s a design dream come true for Arthur, who has been drawing and creating clothes since he was young.
He learned as he watched his mum, a talented seamstress. But he only entered the competition after being nagged first by mum Carol, then his grandmother Vera, his auntie Patsy, and then a teacher at school.
“I finally gave in to all of them nagging me and went for it,” smiles Arthur, who teaches IT at two primary schools in Halesowen and Stourbridge.
With no formal training in fashion design, Arthur admits to sketching out some of his designs on ‘bits of paper in the pub’ but says his dream has always been to have his own design label.
FAB DRESS: Stephen Arthur with a model wearing his winning gown
Now, after an independent funder has stepped forward to offer him the chance to study at the world-renowned Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design in London, it looks as if Arthur is moving nearer his dream.
He was one of more than 500 hopefuls who entered This Morning’s competition and was gradually whittled down to the final three after pitching and stitching his way through a series of challenges over several weeks.
“It’s all been very nerve wracking," admits Arthur, from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
He says he is looking forward to the launch of his beautiful gown at John Lewis’s in Touchwood, Solihull in November.
“I took my mum with me to This Morning but she was so nervous I think she made me worse,” he laughs. “I’m delighted that proceeds from the sale of the dress will go to Cancer Research.”
Asked if ever got teased by his mates for being interested in fashion, Arthur, who took part in Stockholm fashion week in Sweden in August, replied: “No, I never got called ‘a cissy boy’ because everyone knew I was very determined.
“I’m always under pressure from my girlfriend to make stuff for her – it’s never ending,” adds Arthur, who also creates his own shoes and has just presented a pair to TV presenter Holly Willoughby.
And where would he like to be in five years time?
He immediately replies: “My dream is to be a recognised designer with my own store and my own label.”